Posts tagged decorating
Midsummer Entertaining Ideas

Hi everybody! This is Anke Illner and usually I post about table decoration on my but today I'm both very happy and excited to be sharing my first new column on cattledogs all about tabletop decorating. I'll show you the same table in my dining room each month styled a different way to hopefully inspiring your next gathering. Entertaining is a big trend, wouldn't you agree, and it will only become stronger since many have come to discover that gatherings at home are more intimate than meeting up at restaurants - and a lot more affordable and give you a chance to be creative. Okay, time to get started with my first installment in my tabletop series. For this look, I'm bringing you some late summer inspiration.


I always liked a table styling that tells a little story about the current season of the year. And I love the month of September. The warm light, fresh air, luscious colors and opulence make me happy all round. It is the best time of the year to ramble around the farmers markets, if you ask me. During my last visit, I could not resist the dahlias and small yellow plums (called Mirabellen in German). In good company with a homemade marzipan pound cake I set my September themed table with floral bouquets in small vases (formerly jam jars), rustic-style ceramics and linen-napkins. A big round wooden board functions as the centerpiece, giving the cake a perfect stage. Last but not least, I scattered some small yellow plums. Not only do they add some spots of yellow color to the table but also make the guests happy.


When guests come, I mostly arrange several medium-sized bunches of flowers as they allow everybody to see each other. You`ll find a step-by-step tutorial for medium arrangements in Holly & Leslie's, "Decorate with Flowers". Furthermore, I discovered beautiful images of floating flowers in their book, the inspiration for my mini version on every guests' plate. My flower choice this time: multicolored dahlias, white phlox, sage and some grass. I can highly recommend sage as an add-on, its delicate scent is just wonderful!


Along with coffee and cake I prepared cucumber and ginger infused water. I tried this for the very first time when visiting Amsterdam this summer and was surprised about the fresh, aromatic taste. Have you given infused water a try? Which variation? I hope you liked this table setting and I wish you the most beautiful late summer, dear readers! See you again in October for my next tabletop theme! - .

(photography and styling: anke illner)

Before & After Entry With Superfront

I'm excited to share the big before and after reveal of how our project with * came out for the entry, which is perfect if you're looking to update your mud room or entry with a stylish storage solution. Organization doesn't have to be ugly! But first, if you don't know who Superfront is, they're a Swedish firm that specializes in designing and making gorgeous quality doors, hardware, sides, legs and tops for Metod and Besta IKEA cabinets. Everything is designed in Sweden and made there, too. They also ship their legs and handles worldwide, with the rest of their products shipping throughout Scandinavia and Europe, so there is no reason not to check them out. If you're like me, and you like IKEA but don't want your IKEA stuff to look like everyone else's, I highly suggest working with Superfront to elevate your Metod and Besta cabinetry. I'm all about customization and making something mainstream into a more personal style statement. Superfront04

In fact, Superfront can be seen on the pages of magazines like Elle Decoration for this very reason - people are using their products to breath new, stylish life to IKEA cabinets. You can customize your entire kitchen, office, sideboard or entry cabinet for maximum impact. Superfront has many colors to choose from, lots of different legs and a lovely selection of hardware. You can see a little glimpse above of how I pimped my Besta, but would you like to see the big before and after reveal, where I turned a depressing corner with white wood chip wallpaper and a lonely gray cabinet into a statement making entry?

Okay here's the big before and after reveal below. First though, let me lay a few things straight because it's not where I want it to be yet (the decorating part). I want to install a large mirror above the cabinet to reflect light from the facing windows (that you can't see) from the adjacent dining room. That alone will REALLY brighten the entry, which has no windows (only doors leading to other rooms). I also want to add a medium-size plant to the top of the cabinet (far left) and switch out the paper and bamboo pendant light currently installed for a large gold brass light. I haven't found the perfect one yet, so I've been holding off... But the search is on. I also need a new lamp for the cabinet but I can't find the right one so this is also a work in progress. I honestly find lighting such a hard thing to buy, not because there is no selection but because there is such a massive selection and often too much choice paralyzes me.

As for the cabinet, I'm 100% in love with it! It's perfect and I'll tell you why below because there is drama behind every pretty photo.


What we were up against:

In the before photo, there was a radiator on the wall that we had professionally removed since the entry doesn't require a heater - it stays warm enough in the winter. I also hated looking at the ugly thing and knew that once it was out of the picture, I could put a big unit against this wall for storage. Thing is, once we removed it, we had all of those giant metal pipes and things sticking out of the wall. We couldn't remove those, we are renters, so I was having a "moment" when I saw these 4 metal pipes sticking out of the wall. That's why I knew I had to get a cabinet that was high enough to cover them but no so precious that I wouldn't mind drilling through the back of it to fit the pipes through into the cabinet.

Yeah I know, crazy stuff you don't think of until AFTER a radiator was removed.

While in discussion about what to put on the wall to replace the radiator and the gray wood cabinet, we had the walls stripped and then had our Aimee Wilder wallpaper installed. Once that was up, I really started to see a cabinet on this wall that would take up nearly the entire width of it that had a little glamorous edge to it. I didn't want a sideboard that was standard sideboard size (low) because my little boy who would be constantly opening and closing the doors and grabbing our keys and things off of the top. I wanted high cabinets with high hardware so he can't reach up to open the cabinets until he's old enough to know better! And that would drive me crazy so whatever I bought needed to be safe and childproof.

I also couldn't have a wall-mounted floating piece because the walls wouldn't support it since the house is 114 years old. Legs were needed, but not any kind of leg since the floors are super uneven since they are as old as the house. I know, right... So much to think about for a cabinet!

Oh yeah, we desperately needed storage. This old apartment, and well homes and apartments in Germany in general, never have closets. It was the strangest thing to me when I first relocated here 6 years ago, but now I totally love it because you can decide where to put your closet by having a freestanding one. We need to store shoes, mittens, hats, scarves, handbags -- everything you need in an entry before you run outdoors. We go outside each day, we live in the city, and take our little one to the nearby forest and playgrounds. This means we were in need of storage but I didn't want my entry to look like a cluttered mess yet we genuinely use everything we keep in our entry and I wasn't going to compromise style for storage. I knew I could somehow have both. The IKEA Besta cabinet I went with has 3 units, so one for each member of our little family of 3, and 3 shelves in each though you can add more if you'd like.

What we went with:

We decided on a white cabinet because I wanted the room to be light and bright and also didn't want to distract from the bold wallpaper. I selected the front because it goes best with the pattern of pineapple. I selected the brass handles, round, to mimic the shape of the fruit and also to pick up the gold a little. For the legs, I originally ordered the Captains legs, but they not only made the unit too tall but with the uneven floors, it kept teetering back and forth and because the walls are weak, I can't secure the cabinet to the wall. The legs were the most difficult part to finalize. In the end, we went with the  because they are low, super stable and they are understated and the shape complements the pineapples and hardware on the doors. They also were the easiest to adjust to the height of the floor.


Here's our recipe from IKEA for the sideboard as shown:

  • 60x40X128 , White, 3
  • 56x36, 9, , white,

Here's the recipe from Superfront for my sideboard as shown:

  • for two sides, 8 mm, Super White, 1
  • , 8 mm, Super White, 2
  •  , Illusion, Super White, Left hung door, 2
  • , Illusion, Super White, Right hung door, 1
  • , Brass, 3
  • , Super White, 6


Misc. items in this space:  Hemp Rug is from Armadillo, Tweetable Birdcage designed by Alessandro Dubini from , Ceramic jar pineapple from , Pina Sola (in Spinx) Wallpaper by , Gray from IKEA, Shoes are Swedish Hasbeens in Natural, by Teresa Esgaio is limited edition from AUPrints and the frame is from IKEA.

Do you like it? What do you think?

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Superfront —a brand I've been personally using in my home and have tested quite thoroughly. All content, ideas, photography and words are my own. 

Keep It Simple Book Review

I'm so happy to share  top 8 tips for a happy and relaxed home along with a review her new book, co-authored with Dave Coote, called . Their brand new book is a practical, inspirational guide that can help you to achieve a happy yet simpler way of life at home. I recently interviewed Atlanta asking her to highlight a few of her inspirations for writing  and she first revealed that, "We really wanted to create something beautiful and inspirational but it was also really important to us that it was genuinely useful. For us creating a happy and relaxed home is not just about the look and style of the place but also about the journey of creating a home that is responsive, practical, personal and, ultimately, a place that you and your family can really enjoy living in." For many of us, a simple life may not be how we live currently but is definitely one that we aspire to, wouldn't you agree? This book can help.

One of the "problems" with living simple is that you need to do a lot of work to get there, which isn't so simple in the beginning and can often scare people buried in clutter away. That is why Atlanta takes a holistic approach to peel back a few emotional layers first before even touching your home, "You firstly need to sort your priorities and rediscover what's really important in life. This involves some soul searching so in the first section we encourage readers to think long and hard about what homes means to them and how they like to live." As the book progresses beyond the initial soul searching section, you'llunearth the real meat of the book which teaches you how to handle making the needed changes for stripping back, "Change is a real and inevitable part of family life but when it comes to interior design, it can be an expensive business, so it vital that you get the structural elements right from the start, allowing you to play around with the details as you and your family grows and changes. This can be a daunting prospect for the inexperienced decorator so we have tried to cover everything from building issues to the finishing touches to help the readers navigate these practicalities," Atlanta adds, "But so as not to overwhelm anyone we have broken the book down in to small easily digested nuggets of information that readers can dip in and out of, depending on their mood or current stage of decorating."

I love this book and found the advice, and all of the photography, locations and typical styling work that is so very much in line with her aesthetic,  fresh and appealing. If you love pastels, are a fan of a romantic cozy style or cottage styles and like seeing an updated take on Shabby Chic, this book is for you because it mixes a lot of these looks into very bright, pretty spaces.

I also loved, loved, loved the airstream in this book. Airstreams are a growing trend for decorating enthusiastics and many creatives are gut renovating vintage airstreams to create charming homes-on-wheels for vacations and glamping. I love the idea of having a home on wheels and when not in use, you can place it in your backyard and use as a second office, play space for your children, and some clever people are even running workshops from their airstreams and pop-up shops!

During our interview, I asked Atlanta to give you tips that you can use today before even buying the book and so here are her top 8 tips for creating a happy and relaxed home - her go-to list for getting your home to a place of rest and peace.

Top 8 tips for a happy and relaxed home:

  1. Embrace the imperfect. Life will be a lot more enjoyable if you learn to love things for their imperfections.
  2. Appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Make sure your home accommodates this. There’s no point in having a perfect show home where no one is allowed make a dent in a cushion or put a coffee cup down!
  3. De-clutter. We are not suggesting you throw everything away, but everyone has a different clutter threshold so take is as far as works for you.
  4. Ditch trends. Find your own sense of style.
  5. Be kind to the planet. Re-use, recycle and repair.
  6. Get back in touch with nature. Whether it’s a jug of flowers on the kitchen table or a full-on vegetable patch, it is important to reconnect with the natural world.
  7. Make sure your home works on a practical level. This will save time and stress leaving you more time to enjoy life.
  8. Get creative. Scientists have proved that having a creative interest relieves stress, helps ease depression and improves your memory.

Thank you Atlanta for your tips and for sharing your lovely book with us today.

(images with permission from Ryland Peters + Small)

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

Let's talk about moody, cozy interiors and how to create them. I know, I know... Summer just kicked off but we've had pretty bad weather with lots of rainy gray days so I'm working hard to maintain sanity by creating a cozy nest at home. Having the right home environment gets me through times when all I can think about is being outdoors with my little one surrounded by flowers, ice cream and sunlight. On gray days the only thing that gets me through are candles, music, coffee, Amy Winehouse, preparing nice meals and inviting over friends frequently. That's my recipe for a cozy home no matter what the weather forecast. But there's more and I have created a list of 10 ways for you to create a moody, cozy interior. But first, How do you create a cozy mood at home? 10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

I was looking over the portfolio of this morning, who photographed two of my books, and discovered she has lots of wonderfully moody interiors images on her website. She has photographed many books that are permanent staples in my library. I just love her work because she creates such a moody vibe in all of her interiors, even the light and bright homes we've worked together in. I've taken a few photos from her portfolio to highlight not only her beautiful work but to illustrate my point of what I mean by moody, cozy interiors. First, rooms don't always need to be dark (as in lights off) or in deep, saturated colors. This is a common misconception in my opinion. When most people think about moody interiors they imagine the image below. Granted, that is indeed moody but the image above is also moody and the walls appear to be eggshell.

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

Creating a moody, cozy home is not as easy as one may think.

  1. LIGHTING. To me, it's about letting in just the right about natural light - generally filtered through curtains, shutters or blinds so you have some shadow "play". When it comes to artificial lighting, lights on a dimmer switch work perfectly vs. a bright cafeteria vibe in the dining room. Tealights and candles and strings of twinkle lights running along a shelf, above a doorway, in a big glass jar.
  2. TACTILE / SCENTED /COMFORT /SOUND. It's about incorporate tactile objects, things that just feel and smell good that are mostly natural. Found objects from the forest, fur throws, cable knit lap blankets, soy candles... Things that look comfortable and evoke a "stay awhile" mood  - like a squishy sofa, fluffy pillows, a thick wool pile rug on the floor. Baking is amazing. Bake a cake, cookies, a loaf of bread. My god that's comforting. And music. Always music. I have music playing as I type this. I have it playing in my home nearly all day, every day. French jazz or Frank Sinatra in the kitchen, children's music and classical when I'm playing in my son's room, singer/songwriter tunes in our bedroom, my iTunes playlists in my office.
  3. MINDFUL. Living in the moment. Your state of mind. Noticing special moments like steam from a kettle, the flicking of candlelight, the soft glow of a lamp in the corner with a velvet shade slightly tilted...
  4. STYLE. A more eclectic room traditionally feels more cozy than a minimalistic one.
  5. LIFE. Your family playing a board game or watching a film, flowers, plants, even pets, though certainly not a lifestyle object, create a feeling of love and comfort. Kittens on a sofa? Yes please! Being alone can also be cozy but for extroverts like me, often it makes us feel a bit isolated and alone which isn't a cozy heart feeling. You essentially can express cozy warmth through your own moments - burning incense, baking bread, brewing coffee or my favorite, making lapsang souchong tea with it's delicious smoky scent and taste -  milk and a little raw sugar - utter perfection. So the mood of a space is one part decor and one part you.
  6. HISTORY. Vintage items, books, art. Worn items, not everything needs to be shiny and new. In fact, lots of new things can appear sterile.
  7. COLLECTIONS. Photos, quirky ceramic vases, favorite records, stacked textiles. Mini collections on display or tucked away behind glass cabinet doors lend much to a moody, cozy vibe.
  8. COLOR. What makes you feel cozy and brings emotional depth to your space IS cozy. I don't feel cozy around red walls of any tone. Red makes me excited and anxious. Deep blue or emerald calms me. Dark brown gives me a depressed feeling. You may have the opposite feelings around these colors. That's why books that push color as being the only way to a happy home annoy me because not everyone IS happy living around a lot of bonkers color. Beige is only boring if you don't like beige, it's not boring to the person who adores and feels safe around. I vote NO JUDGEMENT. Beige can be sexy, sensual and very classy and warm. Bright color is the one thing people experiment the most with to lend a cozy vibe but the bevy of books showing colorful interiors out there fail to explain color theory 101 and the importance of selecting ones that work for you, not against you - and suit your home the best. Rooms saturated in sunlight all day require different colors than a room that is generally very dark due to the direction the room is facing or a lack of windows or natural light in general.
  9. PATTERN. Pattern is one major saving grace for renters who cannot paint their walls. Art, throw rugs, cushions, the pattern in the leaves of your favorite plant, the pattern of a single palm leaf in a vase, patterns of ceiling tiles or a herringbone hardwood floor. Pattern rules.
  10. UNEXPECTED. This has got to be my favorite decorating go-tos, aside from collections. I love a touch of the unexpected. A dose of the unknown. A moment of quirk. I love it when things aren't styled perfectly, or 100% neat, or uncluttered to perfection. I love when I see my son's handprint on the window because he frequently stands in the same spot in the dining room looking down at the train several floors below exclaiming in his adorable baby voice, "u-bahn, u-bahn!". I love when linen sheets are wrinkled. I love coffee mug stains on my white wooden table. I was styling a home once and the homeowner put on her red Chanel lipstick and left a big kiss on her bathroom mirror with two xx near it. She was single. It was a reminder (at least to me) to love yourself more. These unexpected touches are beautiful and absolutely cozy because they are genuine.

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors


10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

10 Ways To Create Moody Interiors

How do you make your home cozy and inviting?

Psst: Debi is currently on location globetrotting with shooting his next book which I'm sure will be a total stunner (Remember Hans? of his last book shot by Debi).

(Photography with permission from Debi Treloar)